Writing Groups in Devon


Trouble in Rhyme

The Tiverton Poetry Group had an exciting meeting discussing the meaning of poetry and the highly controversial topic of does poetry have to rhyme to be true poetry? This is always a highly emotive subject. When the topic was suggested at the end of the last meeting, a hard-line rhyming poet stood up, announced that poetry has to rhyme and left… exit stage right.  

And so, the two poetry battle lines were drawn.

One of the arguments for the superiority of rhyming poetry states that it is the true form because it is the oldest form. Unfortunately, this case disintegrated under the attack of Beowulf, the oldest surviving Anglo-Saxon long poem, consisting of 3182 alliterative lines written between 975 and 1025 which has no end rhyme.  

Looking further back into the annals of ancient Greek history and reading such great works as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey or Virgil’s Aeneid, it was soon apparent that the works contained no end rhyme but a regular meter in the form of a dactylic hexameter.  However, the ancient Greeks and Romans did know of end rhyme, for example, there were rhymes in The Wasps by Aristophanes, they just choose not to use them.

Historically, rhyming poetry was a  more populist poetry form. It was used in nursery rhymes and ballads as a form of memory aid, helping a largely literate population to recall and pass on important events, history, and lessons.

Poems containing end rhymes only gained popularity with the rise of modern poetry in the twentieth century.

Consequently, the supporters of the ‘traditional’ rhyming poetry needed to change sides quickly in the traditional poetry debate to become modern rhyming revolutionaries.

Meeting the Two Factions.

After the historical origins of the poetry types had been fully explored both types of poetry came under heavy flank -

Non- rhyming blank poetry was labelled as mere prose, not requiring much skill and of ‘killing poetry’

While rhyming poetry was ‘poetry slammed’ for being simplistic, childish with clunking rhymes that destroy the meaning behind the words.

So what was the conclusion of this epic poetry battle?

In the end, both parties agreed that there were great poems on both sides of the poetry battle lines, and also inferior ones too and what really mattered was the skill and power of the poem and not its rhyme scheme after all.

The next poetry meeting is on dreams and pipe dreams which no doubt will be a much more chilled-out meeting…

Book Releases from our members.

The poet, author, and haiku activist P.J. Reed has published exciting a new collection of senryu and haiku based on her experiences of the Devon countryside and her meetings with some unique characters along the way. This collection is beautifully illustrated with colour paintings.

An idea gift for poetry lovers everywhere!

For more details see-

Festival News

Two members of The Tiverton Poetry Group – P.J. Reed and Trina J. Stacey will be performing their work at CredFest17 as part of ‘A Celebration of Books’ by the Exeter Authors Association.

Exeter Authors Association is holding a book celebration as part of CredFest17 on 17th June from 2-5pm at Crediton Library. This will be a highly interactive, free event to celebrate writing in Devon. There is room for only 80 visitors in the venue, so please arrive early to avoid disappointment. 

The Performances- Local authors and poets give ten-minute readings from their books/ poems.

The Workshops-  A series of workshops will be running alongside the readings. These are available for anyone to join.

Tables-  There will be 'meet and greet' the authors with tables running alongside the performances and workshops. Guests will have the opportunity to meet an author and buy books!

 For more information about ‘A Celebration of Books’ see

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